God Knows

There us a way which seems right to a man, but it’s end is the way of death.

Proverbs 16:25

Marie Curie was a highly acclaimed physicist and chemist of the late 19th and early 20th centuries. The first woman to win a Nobel prize, she is most famous for developing and proving the theory of radioactivity.

Unfortunately, 40 years of exposure to radiation, in the course of her work, led to her premature death. The damaging effects of radioactivity were not known at the time. Consequently, safety measures which are common place today were not used.

Despite chronic long term illness, culminating with her death from aplastic anemia, Marie Curie never openly acknowledged the health risks of radiation exposure.

She was poisoned by her passion.

History is replete with examples of activities that seemed relatively harmless–at the time–but later turned out to be deadly. The health risks of smoking comes to mind.

So how does one know, in the present moment, what passions to pursue or avoid?

Perhaps wise king Solomon, of ancient Israel, provides the answer in one of his many proverbs.

Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and he will make your paths straight

Proverbs 3:5-6

In reality, the whole universe is a minefield; one wrong step at any point could leave us maimed or dead. Think for a moment. Just how much of what happens on Earth is actually under our direct control?

We have weather forecasters, not “sure”castors.

Sadly, so many of life’s questions end with the same human answer: I don’t know.

But God does.

“Great is our Lord and mighty in power; His understanding has no limit.

Psalm 147:5

I seek today to trust my creator as much as that long-suffering guy in the Bible named Job. Here’s what he said about God:

But he knows the way that I take; when he has tested me, I will come forth as gold.

Job 23:10

God Knows.

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https://davidsdailydose.org/2019/09/20/god-knows/

Not Rare, But Rarely Seen

The earth is the Lord’s, and all it contains, the world, and those who dwell in it.

Psalm 24:1

The coolest thing happened the other day. One of my co-workers came to tell me there was a luna moth outside! Most of my life I’ve been a butterfly and moth lover, but had never seen a luna in the wild.

I ran outside, and there he was in broad daylight: bright green (most moths are dull in color) and huge! Seeing this mammoth up close was such a treat, because, though not rare, luna moths are rarely seen. Winged adults only live 7-10 days and are mostly active at night.

Seeing one of the largest moths in North America for the first time, after years of searching, motivates me to think about how God works in ways that are not rare but rarely seen.

If the earth and all its contents truly belong to God–since He created them– it’s reasonable to believe He works (mostly unnoticed) to keep things going.

Just like Google, God is a background app we can’t escape.

However, unlike our ‘friend’ in Silicon Valley, the Almighty doesn’t want to control our behavior. He is simply a benevolent Father who promises the best for those who choose to change course (2 Peter 3:9).

There is a way, however, to “hack” the God app and get a bird’s eye view of His activities. Caution: two-factor authentication is required.

Who may ascend the hill of the Lord? And who may stand in his holy place?
He who has clean hands and a pure heart, who has not lifted up his soul to falsehood.

Psalm 24:3-4

Clean hands and a pure heart, the two things required to climb the holy north face.

But here’s the small print: it’s impossible without Christ (Titus 3:5-6).

God is as close to us as the free air we breath. His presence is not rare, but rarely seen.

I wonder how many Luna moths and other marvels of God I’ve missed over the years?

https://davidsdailydose.org/2019/08/31/not-rare-but-rarely-seen/

The Climb

You’re blessed when you’re at the end of your rope. With less of you there is more room for God and His rule. You’re blessed when you feel you’ve lost what is most dear to you. Only then can you be embraced by the One most dear to you.

Matthew 5:3-4 MSG

Mark grew up in the affluent North Chicago neighborhood of Lincoln Park, graduating at the top of his class from the prestigious Lake Forest Academy–one of Chicago’s best private schools.

Since he was a kid, his dream was to attend Pepperdine University in Malibu, California, where his parents met. Mark applied and was accepted, and in the fall of 1996 he moved into the Freshman dormitory–literally across the street from the Pacific ocean!

Things went well, at first, but during his sophomore year–when students can move off campus–Mark started to party more than he studied and his grades nose-dived.

Late one night, after he drank too much at a party, Mark decided to drive himself home. Traveling at a high rate of speed on the Pacific Coast highway, he lost control–smashing through a guard rail–and flipped his car several times.

Mark sustained a major head injury and was in a coma for a month. When he awoke, there were significant physical and cognitive impairments. He had to drop out of Pepperdine and move back to Chicago for rehab.

It took almost a year for Mark to get back to himself–mostly. The visible injuries healed, but the shame lingered. His dreams had been shattered, not just by one foolish decision, but by one after another–tumbling like dominoes.

Perhaps, like me, you’ve had a few “Mark moments” in life. Rock bottom is a hard place to be. But as low-as-you-can-go is also a good place to start climbing. That’s what Mark discovered, when one desperate day, he happened upon these words:

Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of God.

Jesus Christ

A paradoxical statement? Perhaps.

I think what Jesus meant is this: it’s easier to find Him when we come to the end of ourselves.

Hold on to the rope.

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https://davidsdailydose.org/2019/08/24/the-climb/

“Cat”astrophe

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Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life.

Proverbs 4:23

Our neighbor’s cat, Peanut Butter (she’s the same color), likes to come over to our house and taunt our dogs through the glass patio door. She stretches out on the welcome mat, leans against the glass and preens herself like a primadonna. Of course, Sami and Cooper respond with snarls and growls from inches away inside.

Well, recently, the three of them almost met up for real! Peanut Butter also likes to come into the garage every time the door opens. Luckily, I’ve always caught her in the act and put her back out. But the other day she got past me somehow and became trapped in the garage, setting up a potential “cat”astrophe.

Luckily, the dogs wanted to go out at about the same time, heading through another glass patio door to the backyard. Meanwhile, I went back through the garage to get some gardening tools, inadvertently letting our feline friend into the laundry room. The next thing I know, I hear my wife screaming, “Peanut Butter is in the house!” I’m thinking, “Of course it is! We buy a jar every Saturday.” But I came around the corner and there she was, INSIDE the house, flicking her tail mischievously and peering OUT the patio door!

As luck would have it, the puppies weren’t even paying attention. I was able to extract Peanut Butter from the house without further incident.

This comedy of errors brings to mind an alarming fact: the misguided influences of this fallen world are particularly invasive. From the television above the mantle, to the phone in my pocket, there are plenty of ways to let unwelcome thoughts and things into the house.

Evil is so pervasive in our society most people are anesthetized to it. So what’s a God fearing person to do? Here are a few thoughts:

  • Meet up with God every day: Most of us bathe daily, eat daily, and sleep daily, why not prayer and Bible study?
  • Turn off the tech: Lately, I’ve gotten into the most delightful habit: everything with a screen gets turned off after 8 p.m.
  • Tune out: Frankly, 90% of what happens in the world is of little interest to me. It’s amazing how much you can ignore and still live happily.

God’s best to you.

https://davidsdailydose.org/2019/08/17/catastrophe/

The Daunting Power to Choose

By faith Moses, when he had grown up refused to be known as the son of Pharaoh’s daughter. He chose to be mistreated along with the people of God rather to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a short time

Hebrews 11:24-25

The Biblical story of Moses, the reluctant emancipator of the Israelites, is a fascinating read. Starting in the second chapter of Exodus, the saga unfolds with a plot worthy of a Hollywood blockbuster.

I’ll spare you the details, as you already know or can check it out for yourself. However, I’d like to focus on two toxic thoughts Moses faced that involve us all, together with the antidote Jesus provides.

If Only <<<rewind

Moses was a Hebrew baby saved by Pharaoh’s daughter and raised as her own son; a prince of Egypt. Yet when he grew up, he chose advocacy for his own people over a life of affluence and power. But one disastrous day, defending his kinsfolk went too far, when he murdered an Egyptian he found beating a Hebrew (Exodus 2:11-15). When Pharaoh found out, he tried to kill Moses. But Moses ran away, disappearing into the desert.

There, on the back side of the wilderness, Moses served his new father-in-law as a shepherd. He’d gone from a prince who could actually help his own people to a simple sheep herder in the middle of nowhere!

Standing in the blazing sun counting sheep, Moses must have said to himself a hundred times, “If only I’d not lost my temper and killed that Egyptian foreman.” But it was a mute point, what happened happened and no amount of regret could erase it.

Like Moses, I’ve said my share of “If onlys.” Yet it hasn’t gotten me anywhere either.

What If? >>>fast forward

One day, while on sheep duty, Moses sees a bush on fire that isn’t burning up. Curious, he goes over to it, only to hear the voice of God Himself, “Moses, Moses.” It turns out the Almighty wants Moses to go back to Egypt and finish the job–freeing his people from slavery.

This time, however, our hero is not so eager to jump into the fray.

Who am I, that I should go to Pharaoh and bring the Israelites out of Egypt?

Exodus 3:11

This is followed by several “what if” questions. “What if they don’t believe me.” “What if I don’t know what to say? Remember, God, I stutter!”

Like Moses, I’ve said my share of “What ifs.” But worrying about the future hasn’t helped me either.

The Antidote

Near the conclusion of his famous Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5-7), Jesus speaks to the worry-warts in the audience. He basically says, “Folks, when you worry you’re like a hamster on a wheel–all worked up but going nowhere. Look to God first and everything else will fall into place (Matthew 6:33).”

Christ then says the following, comforting insomniacs like me ever since:

Therefore, do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.

Matthew 6:34

Effectively dealing with depression or anxiety means living in the NOW. Therefore, henceforth, I choose to keep the rewinds and fast-forwards to a minimum. I’m just going to press “>play” and take each moment as it comes.

Care to join me?

The ability to be in the present moment is a major component of mental wellness.

Abraham Maslow
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Peace by Piece

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Let us therefore make every effort to do what leads to peace and to mutual edification.

Romans 14:19

During WWII, Matsuko and her family were among the many Japanese Americans forcibly interred in camps. For three years she longed to return to the farm near Salinas, CA where her husband Hayato’s family had grown strawberries for three generations. It was HOME.

Finally, the war ended and the Nakamura family returned. But as they stood across the road from their once well kept farm, it was clear all was NOT well. The strawberry fields surrounding their home were overgrown and the front door of the house gaped wide open.

Thankfully, a kind neighbor had saved all the farm equipment, but the house had been ransacked. Almost everything of value had been either looted or destroyed.

Matsuko was particularly distressed that the pillagers smashed all of her mother’s china. Not one plate, cup, or saucer survived intact. Methodically, she began that same day to sort the broken pieces, putting them back together again as best she could with glue.

One day her young son, Kato, asked her why she was going to so much trouble. After all, she’d only been able to patch together a few plates.

I must take things broken apart and make them one again.

Matsuko Nakamura

Thank God for people like Matsuko who strive to make things right; who pick up the pieces (no matter how small) and put them back together again.

Is there something broken today that with God’s help you could “peace” back together?

Blessed are the peacemakers.

Jesus (Matthew 5:9)

https://davidsdailydose.org/2019/08/03/peace-by-piece/

A Trip Down the Stairs

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Heal me, Oh Lord, and I shall be healed; save me, and I shall be saved, for you are my praise

Jeremiah 17:14

If you fall head-first down a flight of stairs, you’ll be in the hospital for a week and your friends will feel sorry for you. But take an emotional tumble, that FEELS like somersaulting into a wine cellar, and your loved ones may not understand. After all, falling down a flight of stairs is an accident, but FEELING like you’ve done a cerebral cartwheel into the basement is not.

In truth, injuries to the psyche are ALL to REAL, and they leave the scars to prove it.

Confession: I’m a tortured artist type who occasionally struggles with roller-coaster emotions. But I don’t decide to be anxious or sad any more than I’d choose to physically fall down a flight of stairs. I’m simply one of many who struggle with inexplicable negative feelings.

From the dizzying heights of anxiety, to the double loops of despondency, I’ve experienced the whole enchilada.

Yet the coolest thing is, God always rides along–rooting for me the whole way (Jeremiah 29:11)–and, when it’s over, I always return to a healthier perspective.

I get by with a little help from my friends.

Paul McCartney and John Lennon

So please don’t steer clear of a melancholic buddy. Come along side; ask about their well being. Then bring them back upstairs for some hot chamomile tea and a nap.

Disclaimer:
I speak from my own experience. Your situation may be different. If you struggle with long term anxiety and/or depression, please seek professional help.

If you’re still alive, it’s not too late

Regular David (me)